Top 10 Drupal Modules to help increase SEO
"We want to rank number one on Google" - every client ever.
We are not aware of ever meeting a client who doesn't want to rank high on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), but it's easier to request this than to implement it. Reason being, as we tell clients, we don't own Google; it sets its own algorithms for ranking and indexing content, and these can change on Google's whims. The solution: we do our very best with what is in our control.
What's in our control? The design and development of the website, including the CMS (Content Management System) that we use and the extensions to this system. We use Drupal almost exclusively for our web development work, whose default settings are quite well optimised for SEO. We then supplement this with a fleet of contributed extensions (modules) to enhance the SEO of the websites. Here's our Top 10 Drupal modules for helping SEO.
This is the big gun for SEO in Drupal. Metatag module, created by Dave "he's created a module for that" Reid, allows site editors to set "global" metatags which will automatically set things like page title and description and/or custom metatags on a per page basis. Sub modules of this allow you to set metadata for things like Twitter Cards, Facebook Open Graph, Google Authorship and all the Dublin Core attributes. It's a huge module and deserves it's status as number one on our list.
2) Page Title
The page title is hugely important for SEO - this is not necessarily the title that users see such as "Top Ten Drupal Modules for SEO", but the machine title that search engines read, such as "Annertech | Web Design Agency Dublin | Top Ten Drupal Modules for SEO". Page Title module lets you set these titles with your own set formulas per content type (e.g. all news posts, all events posts) or on a page-by-page basis.
Pathauto is the fourth most popular Drupal module. It allows you to use "tokens" to dynamically set human readable URLs for your pages. This means instead of a default Drupal path such as www.annertech.com/node/1 you can have a path such as www.annertech.com/blog/drupal-top-10-seo-modules.
4) XML Sitemap
Spam is the bane of the web world. If your website is getting cluttered with spam it will turn your visitors off. If the spam is full of links to low grade websites, you may lose SEO rankings. Honeypot is our preferred solution for blocking automated spam on a website.
Want to read about our "5 best modules to eliminate spam on a Drupal website"?
6) Google Analytics
To analyse how many visitors your site is getting, where they are coming from, what they do on your website, you probably use Google Analytics. The Google Analytics module for Drupal allows you to set what pages/content types, file downloads, links and whole host of other options are tracked by your GA account.
7) Site Verification
In order for your website to use services like Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics you need to verify your site with Google - i.e. prove that you have admin access to it. This makes sure that you can't track a competitor's website. The easy way to do this is through the Site Verification module which allows you to either add a verification metatag or upload a verification file.
8) Link Checker
If your website contains broken links (i.e. a link that does not work) your SEO ranking is going to go down. The Link Checker module will scan your website for you and let you know if there are any broken links so you can fix them.
9) Content Optimizer
Since Google says "Content is King" you want to make sure your content is optimsed for SERPs. The Content Optimizer module will scan your content and give you feedback on how optimized it is for search rankings and suggestions for improvement.
The redirect module (another Dave Reid creation) lets you redirect one page to another. For example, your last website may have had an "About Us" page at www.annertech.com/about-us and your present website might have an "About Us" page at www.annertech.com/about. If people visit the former then they'll get a 404 error ("Page not found"). Using the redirect module you can stipulate that anyone landing on the former gets redirected to the latter. Since Drupal gives every page a "node id" - www.annertech.com/node/1 - you can remove the duplicate URL so the node id version of each URL will redirect to the pathauto version instead.
11) SEO Checklist
We thought we'd chuck in one more for good measure. The SEO Checklist module is a simple list within your CMS of all the things you should do to help your SEO - such as enable the modules listed above. It's a handy way of keeping check on what's been done, what needs to be done, and what you haven't even considered just yet.
So, that's our short 10 Drupal Modules to help increase SEO. What have we left out? Let us know in the comments.
Mark Conroy Director of Development
When not promoting sustainable front-end practices at conferences across Europe, Mark leads our development team to create ambitious digital experiences for clients, so they, in turn, can have success with their clients.